Obesity and Laminitis:
Keep the Horse's Mind and Body Healthy while Restricting Diet

Presented by Dr. Danica Pollard MSc, PhD (Veterinary Epidemiology)
7 pm ET/4 pm PT, Wednesday, June 15, 2022

This webinar is FREE for all attendees.
1.5 hours of RACE CE credits (medical) are available for HSVMA members only.
Not yet a member, you can join HERE.


Weight management is a challenge for many horse, mule and donkey owners. Obesity and the associated health-related impacts are well-documented with equine laminitis being the consequence of greatest welfare concern.

Most laminitis episodes are considered to be endocrinopathic in nature; specifically linked with the inability of the horse to properly regulate their insulin levels in the blood, resulting in hyperinsulinaemia (referred to as insulin dysregulation [ID]). Insulin dysregulation is a key component of Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) and while not all animals with EMS will be overweight, most EMS horses will have general and/or regional adiposity.

Management changes which induce weight loss have been shown to improve or even reverse ID. However, common methods of dietary restriction can be at odds with the innate behaviours and physiology of the horse i.e., a herd animal that needs to move and trickle feed on high fiber forage for up to 18 hours/day.

This webinar will focus on how we can provide horses with options to promote loss of excess fat, maintain a healthy body condition and reduce the risk of laminitis while still enabling them to be a horse and live a rich life.

During this webinar Dr. Pollard will:

  • Review current knowledge of laminitis epidemiology (frequency and risk factors)
  • Suggest ways of helping owners recognize if their horse is carrying excess fat
  • Discuss different options of management changes that owners can make that improve physical health without negatively affecting mental health (keeping in mind the 3 Fs – Friends, Forage & Freedom)
  • Provide a real-life case study example of developing a weight management plan in an unridden Welsh Mountain pony herd

PRESENTER: Dr. Danica Pollard MSc, PhD (Veterinary Epidemiology)

Dr. Pollard is a Veterinary Epidemiologist interested in equine health and welfare topics, particularly the interaction between horses and humans. She finished her undergraduate BSc(Hons) degree at Rhodes University in South Africa, followed by a MSc in Animal Breeding and Genetics from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, investigating inherited disorders in horses. In 2013 she started a World Horse Welfare-funded laminitis PhD offered by the Royal Veterinary College. This saw her make the move to the Animal Health Trust, where she spent 7 years, taking on a post-doc position after the completion of her PhD. Her PhD and post-doc work looked at the epidemiology of laminitis in Great Britain and what we can do to help reduce the risk. Dr Pollard currently works at the British Horse Society and completed a Department for Transport-funded project investigating the perceptions and attitudes to road safety by equestrians in the UK. She also works with other researchers and veterinary surgeons to consult on data analysis and statistical methods.